Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Life After Dilla: 25 great post-Donuts instrumental hip-hop releases (Via FACT)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
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I wrote a round-up of instrumental releases that have come out since Donuts for FACT Magazine. Despite the prodigious length, this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive – there have been hundreds of albums and tapes released that fit the criteria, accounting all of them would’ve been impossible. So I mostly focused on my favorites, while also trying to keep in mind things like influence, public standing and the role each release played in its creator’s career. Note that the ‘post-Donuts’ designation in the title is a temporal reference, not a stylistic one. Some of the most interesting items released in this subgenre since 2006 have notably deviated from the influence and legacy of Dilla and other similarly canonical producers, and I specifically wanted to reflect this in my list as well. Enjoy.
Life After Dilla: 25 great post-Donuts instrumental hip-hop releases (Via FACT)

FACT Magazine Presents: The 100 Best Indie Hip-Hop Records Of All Time

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
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FACT Magazine graciously invited me and some other very smart and knowledgeable people to do a list of 100 indie/backpacker/whatever albums of all time. After much arguing and bluntsmoking, here are the results. Feel free to hate on it in the comments here or over at FACT.

FACT Magazine Presents: The 100 Best Indie Hip-Hop Records Of All Time

S/O to John Twells for being a great editor, and Geng Grizzly, Son Raw and Jeff Roscobeamer for being an great team to argue and write with.

Wu Tang & Killarmy & Jon Stewart On The Larry Sanders Show (1998)

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
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Had this stuck in my head ever since Wu’s widely ballyhooed appearance on The Daily Show. The Larry Sanders Show isn’t very widely remembered now but it was pretty big in ’98, and as I was an impressionable 18yo Wu-Stan at the time this particular episode stuck with me ever since.
The clip above is only a part of the episode, but it has all the salient points – the network brings on Jon Stewart to guest-host, Stewart turns out to be something of a wildcard and books the Wu, white awkwardness and concerns about scaring the Mid-West audiences ensue. The scene where co-host Hank meets The Clan (actually it’s RZA, Cappa and Killarmy) is a particular highlight.
This was great satire when it aired and remains a valuable time capsule of how rap and rappers were viewed by the mainstream media at the time. Watching it in 2014 also creates some poignant ‘then and now’ moments. The question of ODB’s absence resonates tragically in light of his storied legal troubles and untimely death. The absence of the other members also strikes an inadvertent chord about the group’s later fractured relationship and their notorious inability to get all the members in one room (granted they managed it for last week’s appearance.) On a lighter note, the brief off-hand reference to RZA doing a movie has become weirdly prophetic considering his forays into Hollywood, while the actual movie he was likely referring to in the clip has become a lost holy grail among his fans.
The main difference is of course in the music. In 2014 I am still a huge Wu fan, but even so I would have to admit that by now they have become something like a legacy act. They still make good music here and there, but there is an obvious difference between the medley performed in the clip, a combination of ‘And Justice For All‘ and ‘The Pillage‘, and the single they debuted on The Daily Show. The new song is not bad, the verses are actually rather nice, but the edge that made them a possibly dangerous unknown quantity for the Larry Sanders showrunners has clearly dulled.
I’m not too mad about that, it’s natural. People mellow out with age, they are not the same rappers they were back then, and I’m not the same Wu-Stan either. It’s good to see the group still doing things, good to see Stewart still supporting, and it’s cool that they can still come together at least in some measure. For the rest we will always have ’98.

Open Letter To Jay Electronica

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
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Dear Jay Electronica:
As someone who survived several rap decades, I’m going to give you some advice. You need to seriously address the concerns and questionable decisions on your career. You have worked hard to become a big name in hip-hop. You’ve paid your dues and you’ve grown lyrically since the release of Act 1: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) in 2007. You’ve arrived, buddy.
But all this delaying and cryptic nonsense is jeopardizing your career. No hipster or trendy revisionist is going to wait on you. Just ask Saigon. You can forget about all music spots on HBO’s Girls or those new Mountain Dew commercials. Those Jewish chicks at UPennn won’t be waiting much longer either. And if you can’t make them wait any longer, watch how fast literally the entire hip-hop culture forgets you.  Did I mention Saigon yet? I know from experience how people and the music industry would like to turn their backs on you.
You have the fans, critics, supporters, record execs, lily white girls and Erykah Badu breathing down your neck because you’ve been lollygagging about this debut album forever now. Even Dr. Dre is shaking his head right about now.
Unlike the record industries, these people don’t understand the concept of public domain. They see you getting content forever by not rapping and they don’t like it. That’s why they’re on YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Pinterest, Instagram and probably Yelp throwing  salt your way.
It’s a shame you can’t enjoy life without spending part of your Roc Nation/Pepsi Co earnings on heavy PR or fancying it up on the Rothschilds’ dime. Remember Saigon. you don’t want that to happen to you. Hip-hop has a rich history of fickle fans. Either put out that album or become that guy best known as what could-have-been or simply the male version of L-Boogie.
Trust me, you don’t want to go out like Saigon. It’s time you get serious, give the people what they want and stop being so lackadaisical about your music and the window left for you have for this career.
At Blue Ivy’s next birthday party you pull Jay aside and tell him to shit or get off the throne. Suit & tie my ass. There is only so many times we can go around saying Jay Electronica, Jay ElecHannukah or Jay ElecYarmulke with a smile on our damn faces. Let’s do this man!
An antsy fan (Philaflava)

Hits From The Blog: A Few Overlooked Gems From 2011 (COMPILATION)

Thursday, January 5th, 2012
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I put together a compilation of some overlooked and/or underrated songs for the good peoples over at Passion Of The Weiss. Not meant as a comprehensive overview or a best of anything, just a bunch of random enjoyable tracks that mostly went under the radar. Full tracklist and dl link are below, please go read the fully annotated write up over on P.O.W.
Emcee Jermaine – Crazy 88
Flatbush ZOMBiES – Gucci Gucci
Troy Ave – Motion Picture
Shady Blaze – Machine Gun Spit
Western Tink – Practice Looking Hard Jr. Ft Shady Blaze
Hail Mary Mallon – Table Talk
Rittz – When The Sun Goes Down Ft. Starlito
Silky Johnson – Fast Life Instrumental
Danny Brown – Cartier Glasses
AZ & Cormega – murder on the daily
Yelawolf – Shit I’ve seen Ft Trae the truth
Ethereal – Recovery RMX ft. Micah Freeman and Opio
Zilla – Like A Jungle Ft Clova and Bentley
Marq Spekt & Kno – All Smiles (Plastic Mask)
ShowYouSuck – All Chill Everything
LG – Kool & The Gang Ft. Bonka
KD – Let Me Ride ft. Freddie Gibbs
The Outfit – The D-Funk Era
Davinci – Pangea
Sleepy Brown – You’re My Lady

DOWNLOAD: Hits From The Blog: A Few Overlooked Gems From 2011 (COMPILATION)


Purple Tape Pedigree Presents: Fresh Out The Box #13

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
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Our friends at Purple Tape Pedigree run a bitchin rap radio show called Fresh Out The Box, which happens every Thursday via BBOX radio. I had the honor of guesting on two few episodes so far, here is my most recent appearance. Lots of good music was played, year-end lists and fine meats and cheeses were discussed, and we randomly drank some wine from plastic cups. You should give it a listen, and don’t sleep on their other episodes, especially the XMAS one. I will be returning there again tonight, so listen to that too.
STREAM/DL: Purple Tape Pedigree Presents: Fresh Out The Box #13 (Guest Starring Alex from Steady Bloggin)

Tracklist for the show is below